AMERICAN PLUTOCRACY HAS LED AMERICA, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, BY THE NOSE, FOR NEARLY A CENTURY. ONE CONSEQUENCE? NAZISM. AND NOW, TEN DISASTERS AND A FEW HOLOCAUSTS LATER, THE CREDIT CRISIS. EXPOSING THE “HIDDEN HAND” FOR WHAT IT IS.
Abstract: After they got away with instigating and supporting Nazism, elements of the US plutocracy, and the mentality to go with them, kept on rolling all over the world, to their great satisfaction and that of the average uneducated American citizen. But now some of what the USA sent around, is coming around America herself, and some dismay lays over the land.
The credit crisis is just the latest feat of American plutocracy. But this time it may have gone a few big lies too far. Before that, one can argue that other American plutocratic feats in the last century were the Great Depression, inciting and ignoring the Holocaust, giving half of Europe to Stalin, using Nazism to conquer the world, exciting Muslim Fundamentalists to keep oil producing countries divided, etc…. All of them were diligently swallowed by the gullible public, and not just in the USA.
The analogy between American decay with how the Roman republic declined and fell are drastic, because there is one unique cause to the decay, and it’s the same that afflicted Rome. Plutocracy running amok.
Our analysis differs from Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of Rome”, because we look earlier, six centuries earlier, when the Res Publica started its decline and fall. (Whereas one can easily argue that the Roman empire never really fell, since it was legally extended by the Franks, and their successors in all ways, there is no doubt that the principle of the Res Publica definitively faded away for about a millennium.) As a good imperialist, Gibbon viewed the Roman empire at its peak as an achievement, whereas we view it as fascist, degenerate, and, first of all, stupid. For us the decline and fall was before Augustus’ birth.
OK, the Roman Republic was not as Machiavellian as the USA has been, and still she conquered the world. Maybe that was the reasoning of the US far right: no need for too much subtlety,as they oriented the American Republic towards supremacy.
But the case of Rome and that of the USA will have different outcomes. Indeed, whereas Rome was one of a kind, the opposition to the modern would-be Rome is vast, from peers that are very aware of what happened then, when the Roman republic fell, and when Hitler rose, and of what has been happening recently (Iraq, etc.).
It is clearly wiser for the USA to give up and join the world as a friend, not just an exploiter. That should start with a serious credit and derivatives crisis rescue plan.
HYPER RICH AMERICAN DEGENERATES ARE STILL FIGHTING COMMON SENSE:
Under enormous pressure from France and Britain, and other Europeans, the US “Treasury Secretary”, Hank Paulson, finally agreed, weeks too late, to nationalize US banks. (I explained weeks ago that nationalizations, aka “treasury equity injections” constituted the most efficient way to use taxpayers’ money to stop the credit crisis.) Nevertheless, under the pressure of bank managers, Paulson intends to leave the injections of capital as unintrusive as possible, and to acquire only non voting shares. This means that Paulson will make it so that bad management and bad owners unworthy of the public trust will stay in place, and reap the profits from public money. In the worst possible case, if they really have to go, that would be with all the golden parachutes, Paulson reassured them. It’s all nice and cuddly, up there in the plutocracy.
Trust in the WORLD financial system collapsed when the US government let Lehman Brothers disappear. That was a huge bank, and a crucial intermediate in the US bond market. By this inconsiderate decision, the US government reached instantaneously the disastrous psychological stage, several years into the Great Depression, when banks stopped trusting banks, and so the credit system disappeared, shutting down the entire financial system.
So much about learning from history. Dr, Bernanke, who wrote his PhD thesis on the Great Depression, seems not to have understood one of its main lessons: the government should not allow bank failures, nor the failure of any of their main functions.
Bank failures of a similar size threatened to occur in the Benelux, Ireland, Britain, Germany, and Iceland. Each time, the national governments stepped in, and saved all and any of the many banks that were threatened. By “saving” one means that the banks kept on going as an institution, doing their essential business, with most of their personnel, but under the watchful eye of the state.
Top managements, were of course thrown out of the ailing European banks, since they were the ones who wrecked their banks. It’s not enough to stop the fire, you have to remove the arsonists. (In the case of tiny Iceland, which is not an EU member, Russia’s huge cash reserves came to the rescue.) Let’s insist on that point: since International Law, and US law, require that banks have 8% of the capital they lend, bank managements that end with 0% of capital are in violation of the law. Which kind of regime leaves outlaws in charge and managing banks?
The principles of the financial system rescue promoted by the French presidency (of France and the EU), and increasingly accepted by all other Europeans are: 1) NO BANK WILL BE ALLOWED TO FAIL. (That means they will be nationalized on an emergency basis, before being bought, sliced and merged privately.) 2) NO BANK DEPOSIT OR CASH FUND WILL BE ALLOWED TO FAIL. Whatever the amount deposited. Both measures will limit the impact of the crisis on the REAL ECONOMY.
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wonders: “Are We Rome? You Betcha! The decline and fall of the American Empire echoes the experience of the Romans, who also tumbled into the trap of becoming overleveraged empire hussies.”. (“Hussie” is urban slang for not-for-profit prostitute, and ‘You betcha’ is typical of the sort of low mental class attempt at expression the knowledge deprived Palin cannot do without.)
For many years, the present author has been making in depth analyses of what went wrong with Rome, in parallel with the dismal devolution of the USA. “Overleverage” was never the problem of Rome. If anything, Rome declined because of drastic underleverage (the citizens of Rome and its region were increasingly prevented from taking part in the empire Rome had founded, precisely because their leverage was feared; in the end, to reduce Roman leverage to the max, Constantine displaced the capital to Byzantium, renaming it after himself).
Overleverage is a US problem though. US plutocracy found that the overuse of credit was a handy way to transform the land of the Free into the land of the Serf, and the Served.
Verily, Rome’s problem was pure plutocracy. Rome became so plutocratic, she lost her mind, kept it together for a while thanks to ever higher usage of fascism, before succumbing to the facility of religious terror, and flying apart from her own contradictions.
“RICH-POWER”, THAT IS PLUTOCRACY, DROWNED ROME INTO STUPIDITY, FASCISM, AND, ULTIMATELY, CHRISTIAN MADNESS:
The grossest examination of Roman history shows that Imperial Rome had bouts of seriously crazy dictatorships, and died from it. The situation became desperate only when Christianity established a symbiosis with the fascist rulers of Fourth century Rome, starting with Constantine and those younger sons of his he did not have the time to kill. The Christian obsessed fascists destroyed civilization first. Rome “fell” way later. Ninety-eight years separate the taking of Rome by Constantine (312 CE), the self proclaimed “Thirteenth Apostle”, from the transient capture of Rome by the Visigoth King Alaric (410 CE).
Accordingly, the British scholar Gibbon proposed that the “Decline and fall of Rome” had been mostly caused by the Christian theocratic phase of Rome. Modern secular people would no doubt agree to this. Basically if one was not a “Catholic Orthodox Christian” in late fourth century Rome, one was considered somebody having exercised choice (= “heretic”) and one was executed, preferably burned, as Saint Paul recommended, or one was a Jew, and one should have been killed. In Fourth century Rome, THINKING WAS HERESY, BY DEFINITION, and the destruction of the world in the Apocalypse (here and now) would bring Jesus back. Roman authority reached a degree of insanity that even the craziest contemporary Muslim Jihadists do not approach, however hard they try. Finally, in the “Occidental Part” of Rome, the (plutocratic) bishops became the government, increasing the bloody mess some more. Civilization stabilized only when Christian leadership was by the Germanic military (Visigoths (Spain), Ostrogoths (Italy)). In Gaul, the Franks not only came to power, but they were the OFFICIAL ROMAN ARMY (the franks were not just federates, as the other Germans, but “Rome” itself; that’s why emperor Justinian did not attack them during his reconquista of the Fifth century).
Many other causes have also been proposed for the decline and fall of Rome. All are true to some extent, but most are direct consequences of just one fundamental reason, though, unique, drastic and clearly anterior to all others. Indeed it is clear that something was very wrong with Rome for very long. The crazed Christian dictatorship was preceded by five centuries of increasing fascism. So why did Rome become ever more fascist?.
Rome degenerated because of the corruption of the Res Publica by the hyper rich. THE RISE OF A CORRUPT PLUTOCRACY IN ROME CAN BE DATED PRECISELY TO THE “WAR AGAINST HANNIBAL” (the Second Punic War). Many WAR PROFITEERS thrived during and after that war, all the more since the losses of the traditional Roman aristocracy had been enormous (Just in one day at the battle of Cannae, one of several major battles the Romans lost to Hannibal, more than 80 Senators died, plus one consul and up to 70,000 citizens). This confluence of factors led to a particularly corrupt plutocracy, then to wars of choice, especially against democracies, confiscation of the republic by the hyper rich, and soon civil war and full blown fascism.
In the following centuries, the resulting intellectual fascism made Rome superficially scholarly, but truly increasingly stupid, until the teetering Roman dictators allied themselves to Christianity. Christianity justified, even divinized, the rule of Constantine and his family, and declared “war on the philosophers”, burning the libraries, killing the intellectuals, and every body else who was not Christian, except the Jews, that they did not succeed to quite exterminate (surviving intellectuals and Jews, clutching their books, fled to Persia the capital of which was next to present day Baghdad).
NAZISM DID FOR THE U.S. PLUTOCRACY WHAT HANNIBAL DID TO ROMAN PLUTOCRACY:
A particularly opportunistic part of Roman plutocracy was able to leverage the Second Punic War, and Nazism played a similar role for a large part of US plutocracy (a lot of the rest of the plutocracy profited indirectly from the establishment of the American empire on the ruins of the European one). This part of the plutocratic logic is very similar with Rome or the US.
But there are, of course, differences. The “war against Hannibal”, as the Romans called it, was a succession of tremendous disasters for Rome, and lasted 17 years, most of them spent with Hannibal rampaging or sitting around Italy. The old aristocracy got killed, and so did the old republican spirit, and so did the People’s spirit. The People got ruined by paying rent to the Rich inside the fortified cities, as their farms were going to the birds.
The modern equivalent of Carthage and its human sacrifices was Hitler’s Third Reich. Whereas Rome had not created Carthage, which was a full blown Semitic civilization standing on its own merits, NAZISM COULD WELL BE VIEWED AS THE SECRET BASTARD FASCISM AND WALL STREET HAD TOGETHER.
It’s indeed reasonable to view Hitler’s Reich as partly coming out of Wall Street. The facts are undeniable. If one had removed from the Nazi army all the weapons and technology of US origin, in May 1940, the French army would have crushed the Nazi army in a few days.
Due to the enormous contribution of hundreds of large US corporations, France was literally facing an Americano-Nazi army. From armor, to magnesium fire bombs, to computers, to automatic pilots, to superiority fighters’ engines, to anti knock chemical additives, to synthetic fuel and synthetic rubber, the most crucial part of the Nazi war machine that was plastered by the Swastika, originated not in Berlin or in the Ruhr, or anywhere in Germany. It just looked that way to the naive. In truth all this wonderful equipment and technology originated in the USA, and, particularly, in Wall Street. It had been transferred through direct investments, and many secret protocols.
Those who don’t believe any of this are invited to read the book whose title says it all: “IBM and the Holocaust”. IBM was THE Nazi computer company, it had the monopoly of computing in the Third Reich, given by Adolf Hitler himself, and IBM was administered from New York, throughout the war. None of its 35 factories in Germany was damaged by allied bombings, because allied pilots were given strict orders to avoid American property.
Even more, unbelievably, many of the most important corporations that supported Hitler and helped his reign were indeed creations of Wall Street. Some were German, some were American, some were Americano-German, some even masqueraded as Dutch. Wall Street created IG Farben, and many other pro and proto Nazi organizations in the nineteen twenties. People of course do not remember what IG Farben was. It is not taught. But then people remember “The Holocaust”, and they whine. It’s like remembering an effect, and remembering to whine, but not its cause, and forgetting to do something about it. IG Farben was a super monopoly of all German chemical companies that was organized to secretly cooperated with the American oil companies (so as to turn around anti monopoly laws by going Nazi). It was like that, all over. Many of the involved companies changed their names, so they can claim they are not the same. For example Standard Oil became Exxon. others were more brazen: IBM, Hitler’s crucial pillar, kept its name. Better: the Bush dynasty got to the US presidency. Unbelievably, Prescott Bush had been one of Hitler’s most important collaborators, by founding a crucial part of the Nazi military industrial complex. The Bush family fortune has Auschwitz blood all over, because the Bushes got very well paid for it.
In both the case of Rome and the case of the USA, the plutocracy was allowed to grow undisturbed, and to control the republic. In the case of Rome the Gracchi brothers denounced the plutocracy early on, but they were assassinated (and their thousands of supporters killed too). Amazingly, in the USA nobody got disturbed for having helped and created the enemy (Nazism). The class that did this, instead, became ever more powerful. It is interesting to notice that Rome, when she got degenerated enough, had similar scandals of foreign undue influences (one with Jugurtha, one with Cleopatra).
A BIG DIFFERENCE: ROME WAS UNIQUE, BUT THE USA IS COMMON.
Being a democratic republic made Rome hyper powerful. All the more because Rome was the one and only powerful republic in the entire world. Rome had PEOPLE POWER (DEMOCRACY). More exactly, and less perfectly, power was exerted in the name of the “People” and the “Senate”. That huge power made Rome soon able to subdue all her fascist and/or tyrannical enemies (Carthage, the Hellenistic Kingdoms, Macedonia, Jugurtha, Mithridates VI of Pontus, Egypt) and also the Germano-Celtic proto states (more democratic, but also more primitive).
As the establishment of the empire proceeded, although Rome herself was veering into fascism, the turn was slow and incomplete (after all the Senate of Rome stayed a force until his head, the philosopher Boetius, was executed in the sixth century (524 CE)!). Officially the Roman republic was still going on. Indeed, the law kept on progressing for the best.
Differently from Rome, which was the only large republic and democracy in the entire world in 216 BCE, nowadays the USA is just one big republic among many others. Rome was a unique model, as she rolled all over. The democratic Greek city states were then small and weak, and Rome crushed them as if they were bugs. Rome was left unique and resplendent, basking in her self glory. But it’s not so nowadays: the democratic model has spread worldwide.
One can argue that the return of democracy and republic started in the Middle Ages, as soon as the franks cracked down on the Christian church, imposed women as heads of states, and outlawed slavery. Soon the Duke of Normandy made a direct pact with the People in Britain (1066 CE). Then the Frankish aristocracy in Britain extracted guarantees from the crown (13 c.). On top of that the rise of republics in Italy and in the Alps or even Novgorod was irresistible. By the sixteenth century, the very absolutist French crown fought for decades to help impose a republic (!) in the Netherlands. In modern times it became clear that Britain, France and the USA were so successful as major powers because of having the most advanced legal systems and democracies. The democratic ideal became the power ideal it is in truth by definition.
WHY THE AMERICAN IDENTITY CRISIS COULD BE CONTAINED THIS TIME:
Because it is an identity crisis: do you want to be a plutocracy, or do you want to be a democracy? Pushed to extremes, they are mutually exclusive. Power of money versus power of people. Pluto versus The Demos. It’s “We The People” as the very first three words of U.S, constitutional documents, though, so “conservatives” should conserve that. The People. Instead of uppity plutocrats.
We are in the philosophical mainstream here: Plato had already considered the subject, and proposed a cap of seven times between lowest and highest incomes. Indeed Athens, differently from Rome, was not a plutocracy, when at her apogee. (She had been earlier a draconian plutocracy, until Solon’s reforms.) Athens committed other mistakes, though (some recently exquisitely replicated by the Bushmen, who do not seem to know a grotesque error they don’t like).
The Great Depression was greatly caused by the Smoot-Hawley US Senate bill (proposed in 1929, passed in 1930), a sad attempt to make American trading partners pay for an American bubble. The Europeans retaliated in kind. Each country went its way. France and Germany complained that the USA and Britain had caused the bubble deliberately, and did not want to reflate. The USA could not reflate, anyway, because the Federal Reserve was under instructions to let banks die.
If that -letting banks die- reminds you of republican policies in the last few weeks, don’t be surprised: the republicans are stuck in their own time warp (presidential candidate McCain seriously quoted republican president Hoover’s unfortunate “the fundamental of the US economy are strong”!). In the end it became a disaster; Germany became Nazi, and soon turned into the new Eldorado for British and American financiers. France sulked, and armed herself to the hilt, preparing the unavoidable.
Hopefully this time no one will try to extract a national advantage. The present crisis was greatly caused by the non globalization of regularization in a globalized trading world. All serious people know this. So the solution is to set these regulations up, after transient nationalizations allowing to recapitalize and clean out the old managements.
Rome was not a direct colony of Greece, although it learned everything from the Etruscans (who had been around the Mediterranean), and the Greeks, it had originated as a republic of local peasants lost in the woods. When Rome became hyperpowerful and she invaded Greece, fascist Macedonia ruled over most of it. Ungrateful plutocratic Rome subjected the Greek republican city states as soon as possible, although Athens had been a fighting ally by the Roman side against Macedonia. To make an example, Rome even massacred the republic of Corinth, that it found too “socialist”. Plutocracies hate socialism, and this goes a long way to explain the rabid hostility of the US plutocracy against France. When US plutocrats were busy propping up Hitler, arming him to the hilt, the French socialist PM, Leon Blum, a Jew, was busy inventing new ways such as paid vacations, now a worldwide fact enshrined in law, even in the USA. American hostility towards France and socialism goes a long way to explain why France did not attack Hitler in 1936. France was not interested by fighting the USA, as she did de facto, in 1940 (plus the Soviet Union, which was helping Hitler at the time, with fuel and other commodities). As soon as it appeared, Washington recognized the unconstitutional Vichy regime (something Churchill of course never did).
This time is different. Hopefully the People of the world has learned some from the Wall Street-Soviet-Nazi circus of the twenties and thirties.
Because a circus it really was. Imagine. In 1937 the USA had found France to be “belligerent” (for opposing Hitler), and applied sanctions. In 1939, Hitler and Stalin became allies, the later sending all supplies needed. Meanwhile Hitler ran out of fuel additives during the battle against Poland and France, and America rushed them in, so that Hitler’s lethal air force could keep on flying (with its Ford engines!), fighting Poland and France. De facto, until she fell in June 1940, France was at war against Germany, America, and the USSR, all at once. For years the USA would deny Hitler was genocidal, and refused to accept German refugees, so France fell with hundreds of thousands of them inside (and the Nazis killed many).
As far as the USA degenerating as much as Rome did, this is unlikely. The USA originated as a European colony, and so did Russia. They are basically sub-Europes. Whereas Rome admired, but was alien to Greece. Moreover, Rome deliberately attacked Greek democracies, here and there, it was a pattern. The USA has never attacked a European democracy (and reciprocally).
The underlying theories of both the USA and Russia were invented in Europe, making war impossible from lack of philosophical conflict. To have a conflict, one needs huge philosophical differences. The American civil war was about a huge philosophical difference, namely whether the Frankish constitution of the seventh century against slavery should be applied. The wars between Germany and France, or between Athens and Persia were based on the huge difference between republicanism and fascism. The American hand into Nazism was hidden, and the work of the same mentality that spawned the present world financial crisis (hopefully they are going to be exposed this time!).
The European Union, a union of democratic republics, has achieved unity (as its name indicates) and democracy, something the 200 silly Greek City states never achieved (Athens tried to impose unity by force, under its claws, and that backfired). The EU is actually greater and stronger than the USA in many important ways (nearly twice the population, and much more cultural variety, for example). Europe is powerful, and the USA could never invade it. So, hopefully, this flurry of thriving democratic republics will be able to restrain the international plutocracy that caused the present crisis, and the descent into fascism will be exposed and inverted.
TIME TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THE USA IS ON THE PLUTOCRATIC ROAD TO HELL:
Paulson, a plutocrat, presented a hare brained plan to save the US “economy” by sending even more of the People’s money to the worst operators on Wall Street. With this impudent way anti-intellectuals have, it was called a “rescue plan”, and Congress passed it. Never mind that it was to save the plutocracy. Never mind that the “rescue” grossly violated the US Constitution, and that of any decent republic. Never mind that it was going to be grossly ineffective to do what it claimed it wanted to do.
All what mattered is that the hyper rich had just lost huge assets, and the People had to replenish them. Because this is a plutocracy, you know, and, without the hyper rich, nobody would be at the helm, and the ship of the plutocratic state would be lost, you know, and life, admiring the hyper rich, you know, that’s what it’s all about in the USA. The USA would not know what to do without grand father Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, to reassure them. Children at heart and mind, you know, those Americans.
Fortunately, this time, Europe is all united. No fascism in sight. No Stalin in sight. No powerful fascist mentality in Central or Eastern Europe. Actually Europe has become the big democratic union that the best impulses of the French revolution had promised. Maybe it’s finally time to do some accounting with wall Street, starting with IG Farben and the Hamburg Amerika Line, and all those who were really behind Hitler and Nazism all these years. Time to come clean.
All the power of the plutocracy has rested on secrecy. The famous “hidden hand” plutocrats glorify in. It’s true for financial derivatives, but Nazism and Muslim Fundamentalism were also derivatives of “Wall Street” and the entangled US government American plutocrats leveraged them. Denial went a long way, and American public opinion was made uncurious enough to live by it.
Ultimately, democracy is more powerful than plutocracy, and it requires transparency. It’s the end of American violence and the American hidden hand. Let’s just pray that it will not die hard as Prussiano-Christian fascism did.
Prussia was fascist, per its somewhat colonial construction, and Christianity invented rabid anti-Judaism and murderous hatred of non Christians. The combination was unsurprisingly murderous. As Saint Louis of France put it:” … a layman, whenever he hears the Christian religion abused, should not attempt to defend its tenets, except with its sword, and that he should thrust in the scoundrel’s belly, and as far as it will entered”. That was in the context of a symposium at Cluny with Jews, where a Christian knight had attacked Jews. With Saints like Saint Louis, no wonder we got Hitler.
And now we have the USA, with its brand new “In God We Trust” (totally unconstitutional, from 1954, a prelude to Palindism). In truth, Saint Louis invented a mentality that was incarnated by Hitler (Saint Louis was constitutionally barred to exterminate the non Christians, Hitler was not, especially since he used secrecy). Louis’ hatred went down the ages, and was revered: Luther was nearly as vicious about Jews and others as Saint Louis.
“In God we Trust” is an attempt to bring back the Christian fascism of Constantine and company. And, same as Constantine, it’s not because the goons believe Jesus will come flying around any time soon, but because it will bring back fascism, and its accompanying stupefying stupidity, Constantine’s true practice.
Nietzsche saw the Prussiano-Christian fascist catastrophe come from far away, and criticized that incipient criminal mentality as shrilly as he could. He was not understood and followed enough in Germany to prevent WWI and Nazism (Nietzsche was much more understood in France). What we have now in the USA is somewhat similar. The entire sub prime plot was an aggression onto the world, based on grotesque lies. Even the exaggerated fall of the dollar was attempt to game the world trading system in favor of the USA. Before that there was Iraq, and the so called “American century”, from Hitler to Stalin to bin Laden. All of them puppets on US strings (Stalin got enormous help from the USA in all sorts of way, from the development of Caucasus oil to all of Eastern Europe).
It’s hard to go from number one to realizing one just made a stupid number. But that’s where the US population is at. It has been played by its own plutocracy like a violin. Time to reinstate intelligence, or plutocracy and stupidity will roll all over.
Make no mistake: if the USA keeps on being a compliant toy of its plutocracy, Europe, and the rest of the world, will not wait as Greece did, and roll over when the modern equivalent of Roman fascism comes over. In Europe, and probably many other places in this connected world, many people know how to read history, and they don’t intend to see it repeated. International harmony requires the timely restraining of global plutocracy, especially in light of its US origin, and its long list of the worst crimes, and this is as good an occasion as there ever will be to crack down on it.